Robert James Campbell, 41,
who was convicted of killing a 20-year-old Houston bank teller, would be
the first U.S. inmate put to death since Clayton Lockett's vein
collapsed during his lethal injection, prompting Oklahoma prison
officials to halt the procedure. Lockett later died of a heart attack.
investigation is ongoing, but Oklahoma authorities have suggested they
believe the trouble there started with Lockett's vein rather than the
As in Oklahoma, Texas won't say where it gets its execution
drugs, saying it needs to protect the producer's identity to prevent
threats by death penalty opponents. Unlike Oklahoma, which used a
three-drug combination in Lockett's execution, Texas uses a single dose
of the sedative pentobarbital to kill inmates.
Lockett writhed and
grimaced after the lethal injection was administered, and corrections
officials did not realize not all the drug had entered his body for 21
minutes. Campbell's attorneys say Lockett's failed execution proves what
many inmates have argued since states turned to made-to-order drugs:
that the drugs put the inmates at risk of being subjected to inhumane
pain and suffering.
"This is a crucial moment when Texas must
recognize that death row prisoners can no longer presume safety unless
full disclosure is compelled so that the courts can fully review the
lethal injection drugs to be used and ensure that they are safe and
legal," said attorney Maurie Levin.
Texas' attorneys say Campbell's claims are speculative and fall "far short" of demonstrating a significant risk of severe pain.
Constitution does not require the elimination of all risk of pain,"
argued Ellen Stewart-Klein, an assistant Texas attorney general.
execution would be the eighth this year for Texas, which kills more
inmates than any other state, and the fourth in recent weeks to use the
compounded pentobarbital. Texas invoked confidentiality in late March
when it obtained a new supply of pentobarbital to replace a stock that
had reached its expiration date.
Campbell's attorneys went to the U.S. Supreme Court with last-day appeals.
5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Monday rejected an appeal on the
drug secrecy issue, saying mere speculation wasn't enough to prove
claims Campbell could be subjected to unconstitutionally cruel pain if
executed with drugs from Texas' unidentified provider.
appeal before the 5th Circuit contends Campbell isn't mentally competent
for execution because he has a 69 IQ. Courts generally set a 70 IQ as
the minimum threshold. Campbell's attorneys filed a petition to the
Supreme Court even before the 5th Circuit ruled on that issue.
was convicted of capital murder for the 1991 slaying of Alexandra
Rendon, who was abducted while putting gas into her car, robbed, raped
"This was not a shoot and rob and run away," Rendon's cousin, Israel Santana, said. "The agony she had to go through."
Rendon, who had been making wedding plans, was buried wearing her recently purchased wedding dress.